A Toronto man who was stranded in Kenya with his surrogate twin daughters has returned to Canada after resolving a legal technicality around his citizenship status.
Joseph Tito said it felt “surreal” to be back in Canada with his baby girls, who he named Mia and Stella.
“I’m going to raise my babies, I want to spend time with my babies and not worry about legal stuff or going through embassies, lawyers and courts,” Tito said. “I just want to be home.”
The girls were born to a surrogate mother in the Kenyan city of Mombasa after Tito paid around $81,000 for surrogacy procedures with the help of an India-based fertility clinic.
Tito faced hurdles in bringing the babies to Canada because he was born in Italy and came to Canada when he was five, meaning his daughters were not automatically extended Canadian citizenship due to a 2015 amendment to the Citizenship Act.
But earlier this week, Tito’s daughters were granted visas, clearing the way for them to come to Canada with their father.
Tito said he was exhausted, happy and overwhelmed to back in Canada after a 36-hour journey. He also said his ordeal left him thinking that Canadian citizenship laws needed to be amended to reduce the amount of red tape faced by Canadians seeking to have children via surrogacy.
“I really think this law… I understand why it was put into place, but I think it needs to be amended for people who live in Canada and who are Canadian,” he said.
He also had words of advice to offer Canadians considering surrogacy.
“If it’s something you want to do, I think, I mean, follow your dream,” Tito said. “But just research everything. Research whatever country you’re in, research their laws, research our laws.”